Willis Earl Beal Leaving His Label and to Self-Release New Album in August | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Willis Earl Beal Leaving His Label and to Self-Release New Album in August

Experiments in Time Due Out August 8

Jun 10, 2014 Bookmark and Share


In an exclusive interview with Under the Radar, Willis Earl Beal has revealed that he's leaving his label, XL imprint Hot Charity, and will be digitally self-releasing his new album, Experiments in Time, on August 8 via CD Baby.

In our lengthy conversation with Beal he explains that "a series of very, very tedious circumstances, like legal disputes, misappropriations of funds, songwriting credits—all sorts of things" were behind his decision to leave Hot Charity and that he didn't see eye to eye with his label on how often he could put out music and the makeup of his live band, among other things.

"I haven't had autonomy with when I want to release music," explains Beal. "Rappers, they do mixtapes and all sorts of things. I had a very simplistic outlook as to what I could and couldn't do from the beginning and what all this would mean. In fact, I probably didn't even have an outlook at the beginning. All I saw was the good money I was being given. The alternative to not taking the money seemed to be just continuing a life of mediocrity. And I can't lie: signing a record deal was the best, most exotic thing that had ever happened to me. But it was incongruous with what I really needed. What I needed was the attention by the record label and the support of the record label, but I think I should have been signed to a more substantial subsidiary within XL Records, because the subsidiary I signed to [Hot Charity] was an upstart. I was the flagship artist. And with respect to the people involved, I just don't think that they were prepared—not only to deal with an artist but to deal with a human being."

Beal goes on to admit that he could have handled things better too ("I've made myself look like a drunken, difficult asshole over the past three years, and for a little while that was true") and that he still has an okay relationship with XL, that they are trying to help him find a new label.

In the meantime, Beal plans to release Experiments in Time on his own. With this post we've included the album cover that will come with the digital release. "It's a picture that my wife took on New Year's with her iPhone," explains Beal. "She has this feature where she can put together four pictures to summarize the day, and she happened to do that on New Year's Eve."

In the wide-ranging interview Beal discusses how he was misguided in his desire for fame and money ("I can't tell you how many times I've gone in a bar with a pocket full of money, and for what? To poison myself and sit there staring straight ahead at the bottle, waiting for someone to say, 'Hey, you're Willis Earl Beal!'"), his conflicted relationship with touring and live shows, his role in the indie film Memphis, and what to expect from Experiments in Time ("I consider this to be my lo-fi symphony").

Click here to read the full interview with Beal, conducted by Matt Fink last week. 



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